"Love is merely a madnessÖ" As you like it 3:II
Dr. Lecter rolled off her immediately and sat crouched on his knees, as he carefully looked her over. Clarice lay motionless, trying to get through the terrible burning that a second twist of her ankle had caused to shoot up her calf. The doctor left her in silence until he heard her draw a shaky but deep breath, which signaled some relief had come to her.
She opened her eyes again as she felt the doctorís hands gently checking for broken bones. He was down on his knees at her feet, and looked up as she lifted herself onto her elbows. One well placed kick with her good leg and she could probably knock him out. As if he could read her thoughts in her eyes, he clamped his hand around her other ankle.
"Come now, Clarice, Iím only trying to help," he said in a calming tone.
"No, youíre not," she refuted as she sat up. "Youíve never tried to help," she said as she lunged for him once again. Dr. Lecter was beginning to tire of the game, particularly since she had been injured, although not as badly as he had at first thought. He held her down with one hand as he reached into his pocket for the handcuff key. She still had the cuffs attached to one wrist and he efficiently cuffed the other wrist above her head and pocketed the key again. He moved over to her side and stood with her in his arms in one fluid motion. Clarice was watching his profile for some clue as to his plans, but his face was inscrutable as ever, as he carried her back towards the house. She tried to wriggle out of his grasp but he held her firmly against his chest, and with a warning glare from him she stopped her struggles. She thought about biting him as she had been taught in her self-defense classes during training, but she couldnít make herself do it.
"You canít make yourself do it? Can you Clarice?" he purred in her ear. His ability to deduce her thoughts was uncanny.
"What?" she asked, trying to avoid answering his question.
"You canít make yourself bite me. You canít sink those lovely little teeth into some part of my anatomy even in order to win your freedom," he answered for clarification.
"I could if I wanted to," she insisted without thinking. She shrieked as he lightly tossed her in the air and deftly caught her again.
"You should know better than to lie to me, my dear," he purred as she hooked her shackled arms instinctively around his neck.
"I wasnít," she insisted with her head buried in his shoulder. She heard him laugh and looked up to meet his gaze.
"That would leave one with the conclusion that you just donít want to," he said with a heart-stopping grin. By this time, they had reentered the house through the basement and Dr. Lecter sat her down on the counter in the kitchen. She blushed as he lifted her arms from around his neck. What was he thinking behind those glittering eyes she wondered desperately? He left her sitting there with a firm admonishment to stay put.
As soon as he left she slipped down off the counter and immediately regretted it. Her injured ankle wouldnít hold her weight and she hit the floor with and audible "oof!"
Dr. Lecter came back carrying some candles and a first aid kit to find her sitting on the floor, trying to hold back the tears.
"Well, at least I wont have to tie you up in order to make you stay put," he quipped as he lifted her onto the counter again. He set the candles around and lit them so they could both see quite well. It was obvious that Clariceís ankle was swelling and that her hands and knees desperately needed attention. First, Dr. Lecter removed the soiled socks and then considered her jeans. "Itís probably easiest if I just cut them off," he decided as the Harpy appeared in his hand as if by magic. Clariceís hands fisted in her lap as she locked gazes with the doctor. She glanced away first and missed the softening in his eyes. She still hadnít figured it out, he thought sadly.
He grasped her right cuff, and sliced through the denim fabric, to mid thigh, as if it were butter. He grasped her calf and placed it on his shoulder as he neatly cut the fabric away around her thigh. He repeated the procedure on the other leg, leaving her with a neat pair of cut-offs. After examining her hands, he decided they didnít need to be bandaged, but he carefully cleansed all the dirt from the torn skin. She watched his hands as they went about the business of patching her up. Hands that had caused so much pain and suffering were once again being used to heal her. Her knees were in slightly worse shape and he applied a light dressing after carefully cleaning them too. Not a word was said until he touched her ankle and she swore fluently.
"Clarice," he admonished, "there is no need for such language."
"Thatís what you think," she hissed as he wrapped a cold towel around her foot in an effort to stop the swelling. "You know my daddy used to patch me up like this when I was little," she said, trying to take her mind off the pain.
"Ah yes, the illustrious night watchman," Dr. Lecter said lifting his eyes to her face, as he finished with her ankle. "Now tell me Clarice. Do you see me as replacement for your long lost daddy?"
"No," Clarice denied vehemently.
"Good," he crooned, as he stepped suggestively between her thighs. "Because I would hate to think of the damage I was doing to your psyche when I do things like this," he whispered with a grin as he closed the space between them. His lips covered hers once again, but the kiss was nothing like it had been before. It was rough and demanding and passionate. Clarice moaned as she tried to free her arms that were trapped between their bodies. Dr. Lecter broke the kiss long enough for her to move her hands, but didnít let her speak as he crushed her too him again. Her arms settled around his neck, as his hands floated down her back to settle on her hips. He scooted her over the counter until she was pressed against him from shoulder to hip. She wiggled a bit as the kiss continued and Dr. Lecter started to laugh as he broke the kiss again.
"Iím going to have to teach you how to dance," he said with a twinkle in his eye. Clarice blushed as she remembered her unknowing performance in the laundry room at home, but her eyes went wide as she realized the long-term implications of his statement.
"But you canít just keep me hereÖ" she stammered.
"Not here perhaps," he said, "but I won the game tonight which means I get to keep you!"
"Thatís what you meant," she began to say but he cut her off.
"Exactly. Continuing to let you make decisions isnít too good for my health," he said as trailed his hands up her sides for emphasis. She squirmed slightly but managed to withhold the giggles his action prompted. He noticed her reaction, and made a mental note to find out just how ticklish she was sometime later.
"But you canít just keep me," she said again.
"Of course I can," he said as he leaned toward her with his patented evil grin. "Iím a cannibalistic, sociopath madman Ė I can do what ever I want." He ended growling playfully and nuzzling her neck. Clarice couldnít help the giggles this time.
"But how do you know Iíll go along with this plan to Ďkidnapí me," she asked once heíd stepped back again.
"I assure you, I donít need you to go along with it," he paused to make sure his point was understood, "but I know youíll go along because of what you said at the lake house."
"But I said ĎNot in a thousand years," she reminded him.
"And what was the question?" he asked patiently.
"If I would ever say to you ĎStop, if you Ö" Clarice trailed off as she realized what she had agreed never to do.
"You told me you would never use our relationship against me. You agreed with those words that you would never bring love into the game or use that emotion to try to trap me. I took that to mean that your feelings for me meant more than your duty to the F.B.I. Was I wrong?" he asked searching her face. Clarice realized what he had known since that summer night. She had spoken from her heart that night, and then tried desperately to forget what she had felt, as she tried to fit back into her life with the F.B.I. A life that no longer mattered to her as she looked at the man who had brought all those feelings rushing back to her.
"No," she agreed quietly. Dr. Lecterís smile held equal parts of triumph and relief. Heíd been unsure for just a moment. He scooped her up off the counter with a speed that astonished her.
"Doctor," she breathed in surprise.
"Hmm," he murmured in her ear, "thatís something else weíre going to have to work on."
"Whatís that?" she questioned with a smile.
"My name," he replied as he carried her up the stairs.
That night Clarice learned her lessons very well, although the dancing had to wait until her ankle healed. The doctor discovered, much to his delight, other things that could make his Clarice growl. Clarice discovered what was required to make the good doctorís heart rate get above eight five. When he got up to get another blanket for them, he passed the jacket she had sabotaged earlier in the evening. He retaliated by finding every spot where she was ticklish, at least until he got a face full of pillow.
That night would determine the tone for the rest of their relationship Ė playful and loving.